Apr 23, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Lawmakers met with Meadows on election schemes, ex-aide testifies

Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows
Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

A former aide to ex-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows testified to the Jan. 6 Select Committee that Meadows met with several right-wing House members in December to discuss efforts to overturn the election, a new court filing reveals.

Why it matters: The committee filed a motion for summary judgment late Friday night that sets out to prove Meadows' centrality to Jan. 6 and former President Trump's efforts to overturn the election – and the relevance of his testimony.

  • Meadows, who handed over some documents to the panel before refusing to testify and ceasing his cooperation, is challenging the legality of its subpoenas.
  • The motion is aimed at defeating Meadows' lawsuit and forcing him to sit for testimony.

Driving the news: Cassidy Hutchinson, a former executive assistant to Meadows, testified that at least ten lawmakers – mostly members of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus – met with Meadows on Dec. 21, 2020, according to the filing.

  • She named Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Mo Brooks (R-Mo.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) and Scott Perry (R-Pa.), but said a "handful" of others were present or dialed in as well.
  • Some of the members professed belief in a legal theory that then-Vice President Mike Pence could unilaterally reject electoral votes on Jan. 6, Hutchinson said.
  • There were multiple meetings of this kind with lawmakers during that period, Hutchinson testified. Some members, including Perry and Jordan, would “dial into meetings frequently.”

The White House Counsel's Office also explicitly advised that another scheme planned by Trump allies was "not legally sound," according to Hutchinson.

  • She testified that, in a December meeting that included Meadows, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and Giuliani's associates, the Counsel's office raised concerns about a plan to have alternate electors cast votes for Trump.
  • Giuliani was reportedly a central figure in the Trump campaign's coordination of the alternate electors.

The filing also sheds more light on the origins of an assertion committee members have made with increasing intensity in recent weeks: that Trump's inner circle was forewarned about the possibility of violence on Jan. 6.

  • Hutchinson testified that people "brought information forward" to Meadows that "indicated that there could be violence on the 6th."
  • Specifically, she said, then-White House chief of operations Anthony Ornato raised concerns about intel reports warning of potential violence and Meadows responded, "All right. Let's talk about it."

What they're saying: Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in a statement, "It’s essential that the American people fully understand Mr. Meadows’s role in events before, on, and after January 6th."

  • "The Select Committee’s filing today urges the Court to reject Mark Meadows’s baseless claims and put an end to his obstruction of our investigation ... His attempt to use the courts to cover up that information must come to an end.”
  • Meadows' attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Axios.
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